The Levada do Brasileiro to Levada do Moinho hike is a circular route winding through the Laurisilva UNESCO Forest with incredible scenery! I really loved the first section of the trail as we had to adventure through the twisted vines and incredible trees from within the forest.
LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is 13 kilometers and is circular trail.
Hike Duration: The hike can be done in about 4-5 hours.
Hike Difficulty: The trail is moderate on the difficulty scale. It’s not dangerous by any means but there are a few components that make it a little interesting. There are uneven surfaces beside the levada with big drop-offs. There is a wide path but you have no railing or safety fence so you need to stay vigilant. You also have a few downhill sections on slippery dirt through the forest, which will test out your balance.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the official hike is 400 meters.
HOW TO GET TO THE LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE
The trailhead doesn’t have a sign or any indication of where it begins. I relied heavily on the official Madeira App (or AllTrails app) to find the starting point and navigate the first few turns of the hike. I have dropped the pin below of the parking lot for the hike, which is where you will start and finish.
The trailhead is located on the north-western side of Madeira and takes about one hour to drive to the trailhead from Funchal. We were based in Calheta when we did this hike and it took about 30-minutes to drive to the trailhead. The pin is on the map below for you to plan your route.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE
This hike has a few peculiarities, which are due to it being a combination of two levadas. You will spend a bit of time on the road and some sections are a little bland. However, the good sections are great and you will find yourself immersed in the Laurisilva UNESCO forest.
Once you park your car in the parking lot, you will have to head off down the road for a few hundred meters. The trail begins on the left-hand side of the road but there is no sign and no indication of a trailhead. We relied on the official Madeira app to find the right trail to veer on to. The hike is a circular route so when you return at the end of the hike, you will approach your parked car from the other side but on the same road. So you start and finish by walking on the main road. Not ideal but that’s just how this route goes.
As soon as you turn off the road the trail makes a few quick turns amongst the thorny bushes before you dip down and become immersed in the lush, Laurisilva Forest. The early moments of the trail are quite interesting with rocks, vines, roots, and some slippery surfaces to navigate as you make your way deeper into the forest. In this part of the trail, you will need to take care as there were a few slips in our group and often steep drop-offs. I didn’t find it dangerous but on a rainy day this could be a bit difficult for some hikers.
My favorite part of the entire trail came after about 30-minutes in the forest. The trees were twisting upwards in their competitive battle for the sunlight. Their branches were covered in spongy moss that glistened in the soft light that managed to sneak through the canopy. It was a truly magical spot with only the noises of the wind and the occasional chirp of a bird as it foraged for food.
After being in the depths of the forest for several kilometers, we enjoyed a small clearing as we rounded a bend. With sweeping views of the forest, it put the depth of the valley and the length of the trail into perspective.
There were two small waterfalls on this trail, although in the rainy season you could expect them to be much larger and maybe even spot a few additional falls. We passed by the first one on the hour-mark of the trail. It was pouring down right next to the trail and I can imagine it sprays hikers when it is in full flow.
The trail began to get quite thick and wild as we got closer and closer to the coast. It seemed to be lacking some maintenance or atleast traffic from other hikers. In many parts of the trail we were head-high in bushes, which made for some interesting moments. Frogs leapt off the path into the levada as we marched through their territory and butterflies circled us as if to try and push us away from the flower fields.
The trail darts back onto the road for a few hundred meters before you then join a levada again. This time you are joining the Levada do Moinho, which is where you will begin your ascent after enjoying a mostly downhill trip up to that point. I preferred Levada do Brasileiro to be honest and found it much wilder. However, the Levada do Moinho had it’s beautiful moments as well. We passed another waterfall in this section but because we visited in the summer it was also running a little dry.
The climb is about 400-meters and it doesn’t really give in for five kilometers. However, it isn’t ever too steep. Its a gradual incline that allows you to power through the climb with only a couple of sections involving stairs for a very short period.
The final section of the trail wasn’t very scenic at all as we pushed our way up the hill on a red-dirt road surrounded by thorny bushes. I’m not quite sure if this part of the trail is purely to get you back to the starting point but I would’ve thought there would be a more natural, scenic route available. Nevertheless, we powered on up the hill getting our daily workout in before the trail reached back up with the main road. Take the right (continue uphill) when you reach the road and then that exact road will lead you back to your parked car.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM THE LEVADA DO BRASILEIRO TO LEVADA DO MOINHO HIKE
This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike, or the beach. Adventure hard!
Tag your Adventure Bag on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories and we will repost your Adventure Bag photo to help inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Levada do Brasileiro to Levada do Moinho hike on Madeira Island!